Photograph — AFRICA ON THE RISE.

South Africans are reporting increasing financial strain from the COVID-19 pandemic, with the latest survey from GeoPoll finding over 72 percent have suffered income falls since June, leading to reduced online spending, mobile money use, and spending on non-essential items.

In a survey of 3,000 respondents across six countries, including Mozambique, DRC, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Kenya, as well as South Africa, GeoPoll found that few respondents expected an instant financial recovery from the pandemic, with 38 percent of South Africans predicting the financial effects will last into 2022.

“We are seeing a comprehensive picture of financial strain in our end-year poll, with 44 percent of respondents reporting that finance is now their biggest challenge and 69 per cent reporting they are now more concerned over meeting their expenses than they were in June,” said Roxana Elliott, VP of Marketing for GeoPoll.

The survey found widespread hope that 2021 would bring at least some relief to personal finances. But caution now dominates, with almost half of the South African respondents, at 47 percent, saying they expected to spend much less in the holidays, while a further 21 percent expected to spend a bit less.

The financial pressure is also causing rising levels of emotional distress, with 52 percent reporting they are feeling worse emotionally than a year ago. This emotional deterioration has been higher than in South Africa than in most of the other countries polled, with 43 percent reporting declines in their emotional wellbeing across all of the six countries surveyed.

“South Africa has suffered more than all of the other five countries in its levels of infections and deaths, which is bound to have created a greater financial and emotional toll. However, it also means that South Africans are more ready to embrace vaccination,” said Roxana.

Across all the countries polled, 42 percent said they would definitely get a Covid-19 vaccination as soon as they could, but in South Africa 52 percent reported they definitely would and 17 percent that they probably would.

However, South Africans are reporting a wide range of expectations on when life will return to normal. It never will, say 9 percent; it will take until 2022 or later, say another 9 percent; while for 24 percent, it already has.

Quick facts about GeoPoll

GeoPoll is the pioneer in providing remote, mobile-based research solutions throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America. GeoPoll combines a robust, multi-modal technology platform with a large database of respondents, direct connectivity to mobile network operators, and a team of expert researchers in order to gather valuable data in more than 80 countries around the globe. Working with partners including international development organizations, local NGOs, and global brands, GeoPoll facilitates projects that measure vital indicators around the world. For more information, please visit

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